Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jain’s too included in minority list – Birth by Chance

Union Cabinet of India finally gave approval for the inclusion of Jains in the minority community list. If I can say more specifically, Jains will be included under section 2(C) of National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Here, Jains will join with other minority communities in the list - Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Zoroastrians (Parsis).

What is minority? Oxford dictionary says, minority means 'the smaller number or part, especially a number or part representing less than half of the whole'. In all countries there will always be one majority religion and rest will be minorities (unless two major religions have equal number of believers). In India, Hindu's are the majority; obviously all other religions will fall under minority tag. So as such nothing will change by including Jain's too in the list.

Minorities have some special rights. For e.g. in educational sector. Institutions run by minority communities enjoy some privileges. There will always be minorities - linguistic minority, ethnic minority, racial minority, age minority, political minority so on and so forth. The question is, should a secular republic like India should differentiate her own citizens based on birth?

Many argues that we should protect minorities; their language and culture. Of course we should.

These arguments raises another question, who is majority in India?

As Sashi Taroor told in a speech, there is hardly anything in common in between a Brahmin from UP and a Brahmin from Tamilnadu. Both can easily communicate and understand people from their own village but belongs to a different community, than each other. Take the case of Hinduism, the so called majority religion. There are different sects - Shivite, Vishnavaite, Shaktheyam etc. There are numerous gotras and hundreds of castes; only God and Indian Statistical and Program Implementation division knows how many sub castes are there (I am not sure about the later!!!).

People are born in to these minority or majority groups by chance. Parents hardly give any options for their kids to select their religions. In early ages, they are indoctrinated to parent’s religion.

What is the point of giving special right to minorities? I can digest if government is empowering financially weak section to get higher education or something. But, giving special rights to minorities will only make people think that they are different from others. A republic should consider all her citizens equally.


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